Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Friday, July 07, 2006

HAS THIS COUNTRY GONE COMPLETELY INSANE?




This afternoon, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting in the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center on Chicago's south side, a Veterans Administration cop walked up to me and said, "OK, you've had your 15 minutes, it's time to go."

"Huh?" I asked intelligently, not quite sure what he was talking about.

"You can't be in here protesting," officer Adkins said, pointing to my Veterans For Peace shirt.

"Well, I'm not protesting, I'm having a cup of coffee," I returned, thinking that logic would convince Adkins to go back to his earlier duties of guarding against serious terrorists.

Flipping his badge open, he said, "No, not with that shirt. You're protesting and you have to go."

Beginning to get his drift, I said firmly, "Not before I finish my coffee."

He insisted that I leave, but still not quite believing my ears, I tried one more approach to reason. "Hey, listen. I'm a veteran. This is a V.A. facility. I'm sitting here not talking to anybody, having a cup of coffee. I'm not protesting and you can't kick me out."

"You'll either go or we'll arrest you," Adkins threatened.

"Well, you'll just have to arrest me," I said, wondering what strange land I was now living in.

You know the rest. Handcuffed, led away to the facility's security office past people with surprised looks on their faces, read my rights, searched, and written up.

The officer who did the formalities, Eric Ousley, was professional in his duties. When I asked him if he was a vet, it turned out he had been a hospital corpsman in the Navy. We exchanged a couple sea stories. He uncuffed me early. And he allowed as to how he would only charge me with disorderly conduct, letting me go on charges of criminal trespass and weapons possession---a pocket knife---which he said would have to be destroyed (something I rather doubt since it was a nifty Swiss Army knife with not only a bottle opener, but a tweezers AND a toothpick).

After informing me that I could either pay the $275 fine on the citation or appear in court, Ousley escorted me off the premises, warning me if I returned with "that shirt" on, I'd be arrested and booked into jail.

I'm sure that I could go back to officers Adkins' and Ousleys' fiefdom with a shirt that said, "Nuke all the hajis," or "Show us your tits," or any number of truly obscene things and no one would care. Just so it's not "that shirt" again.

And just for the record! I'm not paying the fine. I'll see Adkins and Ousley and Dubya's Director of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, if he wants to show up, in the United States District Court on the appointed date. And if there's a Chicago area attorney who'd like to take the case, I'd really like to sue them---from Dubya on down. I have to believe that this whole country has no yet gone insane, just the government. THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR CAN'T BE TOLERATED. IT MUST BE CHALLENGED.


Source: Selves and Others
June 2006


THE SPEAKER, DENNIS HASTERT DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH, ME THINKS




I want to be clear from the outset that this is a highly speculative post. I can't provide hard evidence for anything I say (or speculate about) herein, but the circumstantial evidence is mounting to Olympian heights. And if I'm reading the lay of the land correctly, we could be in for a seismic shakeup in Republican politics---in Illinois and nationwide---the likes of which have not been seen since 1994.

It is undeniable that Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) name has been appearing---and not in a terribly good light---in media all across Illinois (and the nation, for that matter in connection with what certainly has all the hallmarks of a sweet little insider deal.) It is alleged that Hastert, and some of his Republican buddies, secretly bought up land in Kendall County that just so happens, in a fortuitous coincidence (as Hastert and his spin-doctors would have it), to be less than five miles away from the proposed route, a new interstate spur that would complete what is currently the outermost ring road around the Chicago metropolitan area. They then sold the land at a considerable profit after Hastert got a federal earmark for the project.

All of this is old-ish news, and while it has certainly gotten some traction here in Hastert's district, I can't say as I've noticed any indications of a sea change in opinion about Hastert or the Republicans because of it. At least not in public.

In private, however, it appears that things might be considerably different. There are persistent reports of people, including Republican state and local party officials, commenting that this is the last straw for Hastert, that it's time for him to step down, and, horror of horrors (at least from the Republicans' perspective), that they are thinking of voting for--or worse, working for Hastert's Democratic opponent, John Laesch.

***Take the votes John, but I wouldn't trust them to work for you. They will probably try to infiltrate your office!

So much for the grassroots problem. There are further, equally persistent reports that many of Hastert's Washington staffers have begun quietly sending out their resumes. Now, that might be a case of ordinary prudence and nothing more, given that there are no guarantees this side of the Pearly Gates. But as I understand the way professional politics is played, one generally waits until "after" the election has been lost before polishing up one's resume and sending it around to look for someone who actually needs people to staff his/her office. I have to think that doing so in June, or a full four months and more "before" the election, could be an important early warning sign.

I suppose it is within the realm of possibility that Hastert and at least some of his Washington staff are parting amicably from one another's company. I can't imagine that a legislative aide gets paid all that well, and the cost of living in Washington is certainly toward the high end of the scale in the United States. So some of his staffers might just be moving on toward greener pastures, as conservative Republicans are wont to do despite all their pious talk about serving the country, yada, yada, yada.

But along with the reports that Hastert's staffers are job hunting there are other reports, suggesting that the Turdblossom himself has already engineered a deal by which Hastert will drop out of the election fairly quickly; to be replaced by a candidate of KARL ROVE's choosing.

If true, I have to think that would be the end of the Republican Party in Illinois for at least a generation. The state party is already reeling, battered and bruised by internecine strife, in the wake of its disastorous decision to import Alan Keyes in 2004 to run for the Senate against Barack Obama when their initial candidate, Jack Ryan, had to drop out when it became known that he'd repeatedly pressed his then-wife, against her will, to have sex with him in clubs.

Keys lost that election in a landslide. And while part of that had to do with Obama's undeniable charm and policitcal savvy, I also think that quite a bit more of it had to do with Illinois Republicans' distaste at being dictated to by someone from not around here. I can't help but think that another sacrificial lamb (rabid or not) sent here by the Beltway Boobs is going to get a similar reception.

There are also rumblings that local Republicans are pissed off at Hastert's long history of high-handedness with them. If true, that also does not bode well for the chances of someone handpicked by Hastert's Washington buddies (and therefore, presumably, in debt to them and thus unlikely to be thinking predominantly or primarily about the needs and concerns of the local party).

Let me repeat again that most of what I've just said is speculation---and speculation based on not much in the way of hard evidence. But the pieces fit together very nicely. And Hastert does not appear to be running at least a little bit scared, for the first time I can remember since he took office. He actually put out campaign signs for the primary election this spring---when I can barely remember seeing a Hastert sign even during the general election run-up before Hastert and Republican Party operatives have begun a quiet swiftboating-by-astroturf campaign, writing letters to the editor of small local newspapers distorting the record and attempting to smear John Laesch, his Democratic opponent.

And John isn't tking it lying down, either. HE'S FIGHTING BACK, and working damned hard to push Hastert into an early retirement. He may just get his chance---and sooner than he thinks or even dreamed was possible. If you've got some time or money (or other contributions) to spare, do please consider helping John out: contributions and volunteer commitments are most welcome.

(And for the record, no, I'm not on John's campaign staff. I'm definitely a supporter of his, though, and I'm proud to acknowledge that fact).


COMMENTS

Lately Hastert has been bucking the White House on a couple of things, which made me wonder of he wasn't having some problems in his home district and needed to supply some daylight between himself and the Shrubbery. Bryan


If that's what he's trying to do, I don't think that it's worked terribly well. The only Hastert coverage I've been seeing up here has been devoted to the details of what we're now apparently calling the "Prairie Porkway." Michael


"PRAIRIE PORKWAY!"

Ah.....It's like Houston's Grand Porkway, um, Parkway, which is the newest and fortunately incomplete outermost loop (the fourth, by most people's count) around Houston. The Grand Porkway is slated to go right through one of the largest migratory bird flyways/stopovers in the United States, and also through one of the primary lakes supplying Houston's water. But the road contractors love it, and I wouldn't bet against them in Houston. Hmmm...maybe if Denny bought up some land nearby........ Steve Bates


Source of Information: Musings
June 27, 2006

IRAQI LEADER BLASTS U.S. IMMUNITY




Baghdad, Iraq---Iraq's prime minister Wednesday demanded an independent inquiry of the rape-slaying of a girl and the killing of her family, saying the immunity from Iraqi prosecution enjoyed by U.S. forces "encouraged them to commit such crimes."

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose brief tenure has been marked by several high-profile allegations of abuse by U.S. forces, called for an Iraqi investigation---or at least a joint inquiry---into the March 12 rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza, and the killing of her mother, father and sister at their home near Mahmoudiyath in the Baghdad area.

He also said the agreements under which U.S. led coalition troops enjoy immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts should be reviewed.

"We believe that the immunity given to members of coalition forces encouraged them to commit such crimes in cold blood [and] that makes it necessary to review it," al-Maliki told reporters in Kuwait.

***Aren't we trying to win the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people? If so, this is not how we should be doing it. They didn't trust us to begin with and now look at what these troops are doing. They aren't all like this at all, but somebody has to stop the ones that are doing this. Maybe if not only the troops that are doing this, but their CO's and others up the chain of command were to be found responsible, this may stop! Instead of Bush doing signing statements to protect these guys, he should hold them responsible so that they would think twice about what they are doing. And all of the drugs that Bush is allowing to be pumped into our soldiers to keep them calm shouldn't be allowed either. These drugs do cause personality changes and sometimes it's not always for the best.

Al-Maliki spoke two days after former Army Pfc. Steve D. Green was charged in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., with rape and four counts of murder. Green was held without bond. At least four other U.S. soldiers still in Iraq are under investigation.


'GUESTS OF THE IRAI GOVERNMENT'

In Baghdad, an American military spokesman stressed that the U.S. command was taking the allegations seriously and would discuss al-Maliki's demands when he returns from a tour of Persian Gulf countries.

"We are here as guests of the Iraqi government. They are a sovereign nation," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said. "When the prime minister gets back, the coalition will engage with him and discuss what he wants to discuss."

At least 24 people were killed Wednesday in attacks nationwide, including six who died in a car bombing outside of a Sunni mosque in a mostly Shiite area of northwestern Baghdad. Fourteen others were wounded in that attack, police said.


Source of Information: Chicago Sun-Times
By: Kim Gamel
Associated Press
July 6, 2006

PENTAGON GETS SUBPOENAED ON ABU GHRAIB




WASHINGTON---Lawmakers have issued a subpeona seeking Pentagon information on a soldier who says he suffered retaliation for reporting abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

The subpeona from the House Committee on Government Reform seeks all communications to information provided by Army Spec. Samuel Provance about the Iraq prison, where U.S. mistreatment of detainees caused an international uproar.

It also seeks information on the interrogation of an Iraqi officer there, indentified by Provance as Gen. Hamid Zabar. Provance had helped interrogate Zabar's 16-year-old son and was later told the boy had been captured and abused to compel the general to give information. Provance said in testimony prepared for Congress.

Provance said his rank was reduced for disobeying orders not to speak about mistreatment he saw at Abu Ghraib. He was one of five government whistleblowers who testified before Congress in February, saying they faced retaliation for calling attention to alleged government wrongs.


Source of Information: Chicago Sun-Times
By: Pauline Jelinek
Associated PressJu;y 6, 2006